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Companies Registrar discusses NZ Business Numbers

26 May 2016

The New Zealand Business Number Act 2016 came into force in mid-May 2016. The Registrar of Companies - and now also the Registrar of New Zealand Business Numbers - Mandy McDonald looks at what this means for businesses.

Now that legislation has passed, what types of businesses will be allocated a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)?

The NZBN Bill was passed in April 2016 allowing all businesses operating in New Zealand to be allocated a NZBN. 

photo of Mandy McDonald 
Registrar of Business Numbers Mandy McDonald. 

While all registered companies have had NZBNs since 2013, the legislation now enables others to have NZBNs, including unincorporated entities such as sole traders, partnerships and trusts, by the end of 2016.

How will NZBNs be extended to businesses, and where will NZBNs be used?

Registered companies can already see their NZBN on the Companies Register. 

There are examples of businesses using the NZBN to improve customer processes, such as Air New Zealand using the NZBN as part of the registration process for businesses signing up online for Airpoints for Business. 

In the future accountants and banks might use the NZBN when developing products and software. The way we allocate other businesses NZBNs is being finalised now that legislation has passed.  

What does the NZBN mean in terms of dealing with government?

NZBNs will, in time, become the main identifier for businesses to share key information with government and other businesses. NZBN is part of the government's Better for Business Programme to make it easier for businesses to deal with government and it is estimated that the benefits for businesses from the NZBN Programme, once fully implemented, will be around $60 million a year.

It will lead to innovative and new services – ultimately a change to NZBN information (primary business data) will change the same information on other databases held by government, for example, a business that changes its address in the Companies Register would see this change reflected across other agencies. 

Once consistent identification of an individual business is possible, there can be a common language between software systems as a basis to deliver new services. For example, software suppliers can use NZBNs to design and deliver services to manage the information businesses provide to government agencies, suppliers and customers more efficiently.

What changes can we expect to see?

We've been working with member organisations and stakeholder groups to provide information about the NZBN and its uses. We know many professional services organisations already, or are planning to, use NZBNs to offer services to clients. 

The NZBN team can meet with anyone who needs help to plan for, or use, their NZBN. Visit or get in touch with us on 0508 696 926 or


Last updated on the 26th May 2016